The Fair Housing Act, though very important, isn’t the only law that protects Louisiana residents in their housing. We’d like to showcase a state law from 2015 that prevents municipalities from enacting “nuisance ordinances”. What are nuisance ordinances? These are local rules that can require landlords to evict all tenants from properties deemed “a nuisance,” which is typically a property that has had emergency services called to it multiple times, or where there have been noise violations. Imagine losing your home because someone robbed you and you called the police!
According to the National Housing Law Project, “These ordinances and programs are
often adopted in response to a perceived change in the racial demographics of a community or a fear that the community’s racial demographics will change.”. Nuisance ordinances discriminate against survivors of domestic violence by evicting them in response to an incident where they were not at fault. These ordinances disadvantage and devalue the lives and homes of people of color, and they endanger all renters by threatening landlords who may have otherwise been inclined to do the right thing and allow their tenants to call 911.
Fortunately, in 2015 the Louisiana State Legislature passed the “Ensuring Access to Emergency Services for Victims of Domestic Abuse and other Crimes Act”. This law forbids parishes and municipalities from passing any ordinance that imposes a penalty for contacting law enforcement or other emergency officials to request assistance with “an incident involving domestic abuse or any other crime in which someone suffered a property loss, personal injury, or death or had a reasonable belief that assistance was needed in order to prevent property loss, personal injury, or death.” The law also includes landlords, who cannot be required to evict tenants for calling for emergency services.
We’ve received complaints lately suggesting that renters are being evicted over calling emergency services. If this happens to you or someone you know, please call us and we can investigate. Nobody should lose their housing because they or their neighbors were the victim of a crime.